Belleville, ON, May 21th, 2018 – The paddock was full of fresh faces and new cars as CTCC presented by Pirelli opened its 2018 campaign at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park over the Victoria Day long weekend. The three-day event provided many racing challenges for both rookies and veterans, and among them, the changing weather and track conditions. Practice was run under ideal conditions, while the drivers were forced to contend with fog and a fully wet track in Saturday’s season opener and a sunny and dry circuit for the 40-minute Sunday finale.
The last time that Etienne Borgeat raced with the CTCC, in 2012, he was at the wheel of a Pontiac Solstice. Returning to the series this season, the Montréal resident has brought a new machine to the GT Cup battles in the form of his No. 2 Porsche GT3 Cup car.
In Saturday’s contest, Borgeat was forced to trail the Hondas of Gary and Tom Kwok throughout much of the race, finally breaking free of the pack on lap 14 (of 21) on his way to the overall race win.
“I made a few mistakes, going off in the grass,” admitted Borgeat. “I passed him (Gary Kwok) and then I’d lose the position. I get him back and lose it again. I almost crashed a couple of times looking for the proper rain line.”
Sunday’s race was much more uneventful for the former Super Touring class champion as the GT Cup pole sitter went flag-to-flag to secure his second consecutive overall and class win, taking the checkered flag 13 seconds in front of GT Cup runner-up Rob Metka aboard the No. 54 Ferrari 458.
For 2018, the GT Sport class has attracted many new entrants; each prepared to face off against an already strong roster of experienced veterans. In the weekend’s first race, long time CTCC participant and former Super Touring champion, Tom Kwok (No. 55 M&S Racing Honda Civic TCR) pipped his brother Gary (No. 66) in the final corner to claim the GT Sport class victory by a margin of 1.281 seconds. Although both brothers finished on the podium, and within the top five overall, on Sunday, the class win went to rookie Ethan Simioni.
“This is my very first weekend racing cars, I’ve done nothing but karts before this,” stated the driver of the No. 58 Policaro Motorsports BMW M4. “I was in traffic all of the time, but they are all quality drivers, I was impressed with how cleanly they raced with me.”
Two former Ontario Regional racing rivals have moved up into the CTCC ranks for 2018, with each rewarded for their efforts with Super Touring class victories in the weekend doubleheader. Sam Fellows, son of Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Ron, guided his No. 43 Can-Jam Motorsports BMW M235iR to the win on Saturday, although he was forced to settle for the runner-up spot behind 2017 CASC-OR GT-2 champion Marc Raymond in Sunday’s feature race.
“It was wet, foggy, with standing water everywhere, typical CTMP weather,” laughed Fellows following Saturday’s victory. “We don’t have a lot of power compared to some of the other guys in the class, so I was really hoping for rain. It’s just surreal to win in my very first race in CTCC.”
The closest class racing on the CTCC opening weekend appeared in the Touring class events, with Shawn Little and Paul Joakim running in lockstep throughout the twin contests, each coming away with a class win to their credit.
Saturday’s victor, Little, has assumed the driving duties formerly performed by Scott Nicol aboard the Velocity Motorsports Club No. 57 Honda Civic, while Can-Saf Motorsport driver Joakim leads a two car Mazda effort alongside of teammate Marlin Langeveldt.
Said Little after Saturday’s win, “Scott developed the car really well, and our team continues to thrive. Scott was not in the car this weekend, but I know he was riding along with me every lap.”
RACE RESULTS (Podium Finishers)
GT CUP: 1. #2 Etienne Borgeat, 2. #88 Bob Attrell, 3. #54 Rob Metka.
GT SPORT: 1. #55 Tom Kwok, 2. #66 Gary Kwok, 3. #84 Damon Sharpe.
SUPER TOURING: 1. #43 Sam Fellows, 2. #27 Marc Raymond, 3. #53 Rocco Marciello.
TOURING: 1. #57 Shawn Little, 2. #12 Paul Joakim, 3. #17 Marlin Langeveldt.
GT CUP: 1. #2 Etienne Borgeat, 2. #54 Rob Metka, 3. #88 Bob Attrell.
GT SPORT: 1. #58 Ethan Simioni, 2. #55 Tom Kwok, 3. #66 Gary Kwok.
SUPER TOURING: 1. #27 Marc Raymond, 2. #43 Sam Fellows, 3. #53 Rocco Marciello.
TOURING: 1. #12 Paul Joakim, 2. #57 Shawn Little, 3. #17 Marlin Langeveldt.
The next appearance for CTCC will be on June 2-3, 2018 at Calabogie Motorsports Park.
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CTCC presented by Pirelli is a Sports Car Racing Championship and a leader in Canadian motorsports. It provides race fans with close and exciting competition between some of Canada’s fastest race car drivers. CTCC takes pride in the fact that it is Canadian owned and operated, and that it is one of the longest-running professional sports car series in Canada. Notably, amongst the hundreds of drivers that have competed in the championship, CTCC has helped to further the career of some of the best international race car drivers.
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Photos: Phillip Sutherland